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China reports two more bird flu outbreaks

China has confirmed two new bird flu outbreaks in poultry on Monday.
/ Source: Reuters

China has confirmed two new bird flu outbreaks in poultry in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and in central Hunan province.

China has culled more than 20 million birds this year to contain the spread of avian influenza and reported 24 outbreaks since mid-October in nine regions and provinces from the far southwest to the frigid northeast.

It has confirmed three cases of human infections, two of whom have died.

The Ministry of Agriculture said on its Web site that 288 birds which died last week in Shanshan country in Xinjiang and 402 poultry which died in Yongzhou the week before last were confirmed to have the H5N1 strain of highly pathogenic bird flu.

The two provinces had earlier outbreaks of bird flu.

Local veterinary departments have culled over 65,000 poultry within three kilometers (two miles) of the affected area, it said.

A team from the World Health Organization began an investigation on Monday into two human bird flu cases in China’s eastern province of Anhui, Xinhua news agency reported.

The WHO team, along with officials from China’s Health Ministry and its Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will spend three days in the Anhui counties of Xiuning and Zongyang, where two female poultry workers fell ill and died of bird flu earlier this month.

China has had one other confirmed human case, in a nine-year-old boy who survived infection, while his dead sister is a suspected case.

The H5N1 virus has killed at least 67 in Asia since late 2003. It remains hard for people to catch but there are fears it could mutate into a form that could be passed from person to person, sparking a global pandemic in which millions could die.